My experience as a trainee

Nicola Okereke explains why she chose to apply for a Trainee Solicitor position at Bristows — and how she’s found the experience.

As a Modern History and Politics graduate, my interest in intellectual property stemmed from my final year dissertation, which explored Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights in relation to access to medicines in Africa. My interest in owning intellectual creations and balancing the need to encourage creativity and innovation by allowing such rights to be protected, with allowing society to benefit from innovative development led to me studying the GDL. I then spent a few years writing IP licensing agreements at a multinational media conglomerate, and a few more years working as an IP commercial paralegal at a luxury fashion focused tech company. Bristows was a natural first choice when deciding where I wanted train and develop my experience working with IP-rich clients.

“The interview process at Bristows was distinct in its focus on human beings. I immediately felt as though there was an interest in who I was as a person, rather than a rigid tick box exercise.”

There was a nice mix of technical and competency based questions that allowed me to demonstrate my technical knowledge and softer skills I had developed through my experience. At no point did I feel as though I was being asked a trick question. Interestingly, I found the interview process really relaxing and I felt as though I could bring my whole self to the interview, which was very important to me.

So far, I have worked in the Commercial Technology and Copyright Disputes department, and the Patent Litigation department. I have been fortunate enough to have had a fair amount of experience in court. While bundling is always more time consuming than you anticipate it to be, the long hours and sometimes stressful requirement for meticulous detail is balanced by the thrill of being in the court room and observing what months (and sometimes years) of preparation and strategy development by solicitors comes down to.

Describing the people at Bristows as nice might initially appear to be somewhat lack-lustre. However, there really is a genuine culture of partners and associates being generally pleasant. I was initially surprised by how approachable the partners are and how partners have actively sought to provide me with training and development opportunities. It is a great environment to learn in and I can confidently say that the Bristows trainee experience is nothing like the city law firm horror stories prospective trainees are constantly warned about.

Nicola Okereke

Trainee Solicitor


  • BA (Hons) Modern History and Politics, University of Southampton
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, BPP University
  • Legal Practice Course, BPP University

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